In March 2005, a pioneering 48-hour event was held in Canberra, Australia: The 1st Annual Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management . The 50 participants came from all of the Australian states and territories, plus representatives from New Zealand, Singapore, and the US. The intense but relationship-building retreat exceeded all expectations, with prospective outcomes that will strengthen volunteerism in the Pacific region in many ways.
The co-producers of the event explain how it evolved, the goals of the program, how the facilitation model was designed, and participant reactions. They also reflect on what the retreat meant to the emerging national professional associations of Australasia and plans for making the opportunity an annual one. They also explain the provocative slogan “Not just 50, not just 3” to which the retreat “alumni” committed in the last session.
The article is accompanied by audio “sound bites” recorded on site, in which participants explain what made the two days an “advanced” experience for them.